How do I know when I have won?

  1. The bell rings
  2. The crowd cheers
  3. The fight stops
  4. The ref declares it’s over
  5. Your hands are held up over your head

It’s a simple list. When the 5 things listed above happen, it’s a pretty clear indicator that you have, in fact, won. I would give one caution though… the enemy knows this too.

Take a good look at the winner and the loser in the picture above (It’s a very famous picture by Neil Leifer). Notice any similarities?

You ever get the last word in? You ever tell someone off that really deserves it? You ever get paybacks when they cut you off or ride your bumper? Do you mock other beliefs? is, ‘na na na na na’ in your vocabulary? Can you show them who is boss? Are you someone not to be messed with?

I could actually go on for quite some time. The enemy is an expert at ringing the bell, sounding the crowd, and declaring a winner. The problem is that we get so excited at the victory, that we don’t notice the canvas on our backs.

Who really wins when we are playing at vengeance, revenge, greed, dominance, or simply making a name for ourselves?

His trick is simple… when fighting in a spiritual war, he puts real people in our path. When we fight the people instead of the combatants, we lose. It doesn’t feel like it at first. We take swings, we hear the chants, the crowd jumps to its feet! But how can we win when we aren’t even fighting the real enemy?

If Muhammad Ali shows up to fight and you punch out a collegiate lightweight, did you just beat Ali? No! That would be ludicrous. But we do it everyday when we turn on each other at the delight of the one who is truly against us. It is, quite simply, Satan who turns us towards each other. And when we raise our gloves to take that crown, it ends the same everytime… on our backs listening to the cheers trying to figure out where things went wrong.

The solution is easy… instead of fighting someone who isn’t our enemy, lets let the man who took our place in the actual fight do what He came to do. Jesus came to win where we couldn’t. And isn’t it interesting, that when Jesus took our place so we didn’t have to fight, Satan puts us in his place, so we end up fighting each other?

Jesus took the cross so we wouldn’t have to. It’s time to retire the trunks and the gloves and get out our kneepads. Satan wants us to fight our battles all wrong and on his terms. Jesus wants to fight for us. Stop fighting the wrong enemy… you want to really deal a blow in this spiritual war? Pray for those you see standing against you!

Jesus’ message was very simple. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. If you feel the need to dig in and battle it out… take a good look at your surrounds, you might just be laying on your back thinking you won.

Photo by Neil Leifer, 1966

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